Area man guilty of bulldozing public land

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Barry County man was convicted of destroying public forest land by a federal grand jury in Springfield last week and now faces a sizable fine.

The jury convicted Aaron Dalton, 64, of Eagle Rock, of bulldozing and cutting down trees on federal land owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers located near the Roaring River Bridge on Table Rock Lake.

A landscape appraiser estimated the damage caused by Dalton's bulldozing operation at $15,000. The federal land was located next to property Dalton owns.

The jury, which convened in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, deliberated for less than an hour before returning its verdict of guilty. U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England presided over the two-day trial, which was held on Sept. 26 and 27.

Under federal law, Dalton could face a sentence of up to one year in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000 plus an order of restitution.

A sentencing hearing will be held after a presentence investigation is performed by the United States Probation Office.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert and investigated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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